Gold Cup to be played in record 13 different U.S. cities July 3-26
NEW YORK – The 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup will be played in a record 13 different U.S. cities, opening at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles on Friday, July 3 and concluding with the championship match Sunday, July 26 at Giants Stadium outside New York.
The 13 cities are more than twice than the number previously used for the continental championship and shy of only the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which used 10 venues each in Japan and South Korea. The 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States was played in nine different venues.
“By expanding the Gold Cup to 13 venues, it will give fans more opportunity to experience the championship in person,” CONCACAF President Jack Warner said.
The Gold Cup will make its first appearance in four cities: Columbus, Ohio; Phoenix; Philadelphia and Washington. A Gold Cup quarterfinal will be the first sporting event to be played at the Dallas Cowboys New Stadium.
Each venue will host one doubleheader except for the final at Giants Stadium, with the quarterfinals set for Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (Saturday, July 18) and Dallas (Sunday, July 19), and the semifinals at Soldier Field in Chicago (Thursday, July 23).
Besides Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus (July 7), RFK Stadium in Washington (July 8) and the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (July 12), other first-round venues include: Qwest Field in Seattle (July 4), Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California (July 5), Reliant Stadium in Houston (July 9), FIU Stadium in Miami (July 10), and Gillette Stadium in the Boston suburb of Foxborough, Massachusetts (July 11).
“While 13 cities create logistical challenges, we think the benefits of reaching out to more venues are clearly worthwhile,” CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer said. “The ability of so many people to see national teams play we feel is well worth the effort.”
The tournament will use the same format as in 2005 and 2007, with the 12-team field divided into three, four-team groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals along with the two best third-place teams.
The three first-round groups for the qualifiers: Canada, Mexico and the United States from the North Zone; Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua from Central America; and Jamaica, Grenada, Guadeloupe and Haiti from the Caribbean, and schedule will be announced at a later time.
Haiti was approved on Sunday by the Caribbean Football Union congress to replace Cuba, which had qualified but withdrew citing developmental concerns. Haiti won a draw with Trinidad & Tobago to claim the fourth and final berth from the Caribbean.
The Gold Cup was played in six different cities in its two most recent editions, including two stadia in Los Angeles in 2005 (the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and The Home Depot Center ).
This will be the second time Giants Stadium has staged the final and first since 2005. Miami will see the Gold Cup for the seventh straight time, although it will be the first time at FIU Stadium, while the Los Angeles area will stage matches for the eighth time in 10 tournaments.
Games will be played on modern synthetic surfaces in four stadiums: Qwest Field, FIU Stadium, Gillette Stadium and the New Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Grass will be laid over the existing surface for the final in Giants Stadium.
Groups and a full schedule as well as ticket information will be available in the coming weeks.
July 3 – The Home Depot Center (Los Angeles)
July 4 – Qwest Field (Seattle)
July 5 – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (San Francisco)
July 7 – Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
July 8 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington)
July 9 – Reliant Stadium (Houston)
July 10 – Florida International University Stadium (Miami)
July 11 – Gillette Stadium (Boston)
July 12 – University of Phoenix Stadium (Phoenix)
July 18 – Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
July 19 –Dallas Cowboys New Stadium (Dallas)
July 23 – Soldier Field (Chicago)
July 26 – Giants Stadium (New York)